If a dog’s kidneys and related organs are affected by an underlying health condition, it can lead to renal failure (renal failure). Some of the most common signs and symptoms of this potentially life-threatening condition are listed here by our Mechanicsburg emergency veterinarians.
Many conditions that affect the kidneys and their associated organs can lead to renal failure, which is also known as kidney failure.
The kidneys of a healthy dog regulate hydration, release hormones necessary for the production of red blood cells, remove toxins, and maintain a normal electrolyte balance. When the kidneys fail in a dog, the body is unable to carry out these essential functions.
Your veterinarian’s diagnosis of an issue with your dog’s kidneys that could lead to kidney failure can be frightening, but don’t give up hope. You and your veterinarian may be able to take steps to extend your pet’s life, depending on the situation. What you need to know is here.
What exactly is canine kidney disease?
When the kidneys are in good working order, they perform a plethora of vital functions. Blood toxins are removed and excreted in the urine, blood pressure and acidity levels are maintained, water loss is prevented, and overall metabolic balance is maintained.
The term “kidney or renal disease” refers to any condition that prevents the kidneys from functioning properly. There’s still some functional tissue left, which indicates that damage is taking place. When the kidneys stop working completely, renal failure is much more serious.
Acute and chronic kidney disease are the two types.
Toxic substances or other medical conditions such as kidney stones or cancer can cause an acute form of the disease. Symptoms can be severe and appear quickly in this case, but depending on the underlying cause, the condition may be managed and resolved.
In the long run, chronic renal disease is a permanent and irreversible condition that progresses over time. Because dogs have more kidney tissue than is necessary for daily life, chronic disease can appear to begin suddenly because symptoms often only show when a lot of damage has already occurred.
While chronic renal disease has no known cure, early intervention may be able to slow or even halt its progression. It’s not uncommon for acute renal failure to turn into chronic renal disease because of a primary malfunction of the kidneys, but it’s not always the case.
What are the types of dog kidney disease?
Chronic kidney failure and acute kidney failure are the two main types of kidney failure seen in dogs.
Patients with chronic renal failure experience gradual loss of kidney function over a period of weeks, months or even years. Degeneration of the kidneys as a result of aging is the most common cause of chronic kidney failure in dogs. As a general rule, chronic kidney failure is incurable in dogs, but it is possible to manage the condition and extend the lives of many pets for months or even years.
Acute Renal Failure – A decrease in kidney function over a period of hours or days characterizes acute kidney failure. A common cause of this type of kidney failure is exposure to toxins or an infection. Acute kidney failure is usually curable if detected and treated in its early stages.
What are the symptoms of dog kidney failure?
The symptoms of kidney disease in dogs can be summarized as follows:
In dogs, the signs of renal failure can vary greatly from case to case due to the kidneys’ multifarious roles in the body. The following are possible symptoms, which may appear all at once or develop over time:
Excessive consumption of alcohol and frequent urination. When a pet is urinating a lot, the kidneys lose their ability to conserve water, which is why it’s unusual for a pet to have renal problems.
As a result of the increased volume of urination in the home,
- A decrease in hunger
- Weight reduction is the goal.
- Pale teeth (caused by anaemia)
- Oral sores and ulcers
- Insufficiency or mediocrity as a whole
- High blood pressure-induced blindness occurs suddenly.
- Brittle bones
However, keep in mind that many of the above symptoms can be caused by less serious conditions. Nevertheless, if your dog shows any signs of kidney disease, you should take him to the vet right away to begin treatment.
What causes kidney failure in dogs?
Canine kidney failure can be caused by a variety of different things.
Kidney failure can be caused by any of the following diseases that have an effect on the kidneys:
It includes everything from cysts to agenesis, which are both hereditary conditions and underlying illnesses (being born missing one or both kidneys).
Bacteria buildup on teeth and gums can lead to advanced dental disease. Toxic bacteria build up in this area before spreading to other organ systems, resulting in irreversible kidney damage.
Drinking or swimming in water that has been tainted with bacteria, such as leptospirosis, puts you at risk for bacterial infections. Inflamed kidneys and renal cells may be killed as a result of this.
This can cause kidney cells to be damaged if the kidneys are poisoned. Taking drugs or poisons can cause this in your dog (including substances or foods that are toxic to them).
Elderly Degeneration: As your dog ages, cells in the kidneys might break down and die, resulting in kidney disease.
How do you know if your doghas chronic kidney failure?
A complete urinalysis and a blood chemistry analysis are the two most common methods of evaluating kidney function.
To determine kidney function, a urinalysis is required. The first sign of kidney failure is a low urine specific gravity (USpG). Proteinuria (increased protein excretion in the urine) is a sign of impaired kidney function.
The functioning of various internal organs can be evaluated through a blood biochemistry analysis. Blood urea nitrogen (BUN) and blood creatinine (CREA) levels in the blood can indicate decreased kidney function.
Other blood tests, such as albumin, globulin, phosphate, sodium, phosphorus, and calcium counts, are critical in determining the extent of the failure and the best course of treatment.
The onset of early renal failure can be detected using a newly developed blood test for the measurement of SDMA levels (a naturally occurring biological indicator for kidney function). Prior to an increase in serum creatinine, SDMA concentrations rise above the normal range. Your veterinarian will be able to treat your dog at a much earlier stage of the disease thanks to this information.
Serum creatinine levels rise before SDMA concentrations do, according to this study.
If a dog is suffering from compensated chronic kidney failure, its BUN and creatinine levels may be normal, but its urine specific gravity will be low. When the kidneys are under a lot of strain, such as during an illness or surgery, the blood test results can spike quickly.
An azotemic dog has low urine specific gravity and high BUN and CREA levels.
Are there any options for treatment out there to dog kidney failures?
Intravenous fluids are usually the first line of treatment for acute kidney failure (IV). Good hydration and the removal of waste products from the bloodstream can be restored by drinking these fluids. During IV fluid therapy, the patient’s urine output is closely monitored because a drop in urine output could signal the need for additional treatment. Water pills (diuretics) have become the most common method of increasing urination.
Other medications are also commonly used in conjunction with fluid therapy. Because kidney failure frequently results in stomach ulcers, antacids such as Pepcid or Zantac are commonly prescribed. Medication to coat the ulcer may be prescribed if it is bleeding. Whenever an infection is suspected or known to be the cause of kidney failure, antibiotics are prescribed. It is common for pets with kidney failure to refuse to eat, so a temporary tube may be used to provide nutrition.
Acute kidney failure in dogs and cats can progress rapidly, necessitating close observation of their health. Repeated measurements of blood pressure, body weight, electrocardiogram, and blood tests may be required. To get an accurate reading on the volume of urine, a catheter may be inserted.
An electrolyte, potassium is normally found in low concentrations in the blood. Potassium levels are more likely to spike in acute kidney failure than chronic kidney failure, where levels tend to fall. It is possible for the heart to stop beating if the potassium level in the blood rises too high.
As a result of kidney failure, blood pressure medications are frequently prescribed. Blood vessels in the eye or brain can burst as a result of high blood pressure, which can be fatal. Bloating in the abdomen, swollen legs and shortness of breath are all possible side effects.
IV fluids may not be effective in all animals suffering from acute kidney failure. Some patients with kidney failure will require more advanced treatments (e.g. peritoneal dialysate, hemodialysis). A dangerously high potassium level, fluid in the lungs, or a lack of improvement in laboratory results while receiving IV fluids are all signs that these treatments should be considered.
In peritoneal dialysis, a tube is placed directly into the abdomen, fluid is put in, and then the fluid is drained out an hour or so later. Many of the toxins that the kidneys are unable to remove are removed during this process. To start, a doctor or nurse must be on-call 24 hours a day, seven days a week, to make sure the patient is getting fluid in and out of his or her system. Complications such as tube infection and tube clogging are common even in the best of circumstances after only a few days.
During hemodialysis, a large IV catheter is placed in a vein and used to remove a small amount of blood at a time. Blood is purified by passing it through a machine. Only a small number of veterinary hospitals are equipped to perform hemodialysis, despite the fact that it is an effective treatment. As with hemodialysis, peritoneal dialysis is also a very pricey procedure.
How to prevent dogs from developing kidney failure?
It is common for dogs to suffer from acute kidney failure if they eat tainted or poisonous foods, such as grapes or chocolate. Be aware of any products in your home that could potentially harm your dog, and remove them from your pet’s reach. Keep antifreeze, human medications, and potentially harmful foods away from your dog.
Chronic kidney failure is more difficult to prevent because it is often age-related and genetically predetermined. Regular wellness exams twice a year at your primary care veterinarian’s office can help to detect symptoms early so that treatment can begin before the condition worsens.
Watch 4 symptoms that could cost your dog its life | Video
What are the functions of the kidneys in my dog?
The kidneys perform a variety of tasks. They primarily function to remove metabolic waste products from the bloodstream, regulate the levels of certain essential nutrients, such as potassium and sodium, conserve water and produce urine. They also act to..
What the term “chronic renal failure” actually means?
Chronic kidney failure, also known as “chronic renal failure,” is commonly misunderstood to mean that the kidneys have ceased to function and are therefore unable to excrete urine. Because this isn’t true, it’s good news.
Patients with chronic renal failure (CRF) are defined by their inability to produce urine, not their inability to effectively filter blood. However, despite the fact that most dogs with kidney failure produce a lot of urine, the body’s toxic wastes are not effectively eliminated.
When a dog’s kidneys fail, how do they react?
When about two-thirds of the kidney tissue has been destroyed, waste products in the blood begin to rise rapidly, and the patient appears to be suddenly ill. Loss of appetite, depression, vomiting, diarrhea, and extremely bad breath are all symptoms of more advanced kidney failure.
How long can a dog with kidney failure expect to live?
A specific stage of chronic kidney disease necessitates the use of certain treatments. There is a 400-day median survival time for dogs in Stage 1, which is followed by Stage 2 (200-400 days) and Stage 3 (110-200).
When a dog’s kidneys fail, does it feel pain?
Chronic kidney disease can be treated at home in the early stages, which is a good thing. While kidney disease can be extremely painful for some dogs, for others, it may be more of an inconvenience.
Acute kidney failure is still a serious and often fatal disease, despite all the advances in treatment. Due to poor response to supportive care, about 60% of dogs and cats with this disease are either euthanized or die.
For those patients whose medical treatment has failed, dialysis is usually reserved, and the chance of death without dialysis is nearly 100%. According to the cause of kidney failure, dialysis may help 50 percent of these patients.
It is possible that even in patients who recover from acute kidney failure, the recovery will be incomplete, leaving the patient with chronic kidney disease and the need for lifelong ongoing care.